Question about keeping just one

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Ninjasquirrel, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. Ninjasquirrel

    Ninjasquirrel Crowing

    May 11, 2018
    Northwest Indiana
    I didnt know where to post this but I think this is as good a spot as any. We have 8 birds all 1 year old. We plan to slaughter them for meat once they stop laying. The only problem is...I've grown very attached to one in particular. I have specifically told my SO that she is not to be eaten. My question is though...what do I do when I have 7 more babies and one full size hen? Do you think she would be alright with them or should she have a seperate coop? Being an inside bird is not an option.

    Edit: not sure if it makes a difference but I should clarify that she is a golden comet and we plan to do barred rocks next time
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Hi there. :frow

    At 1 year old, they may or may not molt this season. But they WILL return to lay after molt as day light increases again... and they will be laying larger eggs than when they were pullet... plus pullets don't lay eggs usually for the first 5-6 months in addition to requiring heat and special attention. It is NOT imo more economical necessarily to cull birds for replacement at their first molt. And their 2nd year of laying is the best, according to my experience.

    In addition, when I am "culling" (that is eliminating from my flock in whatever manner I see fit)... say 2nd or 3rd molt (depending on breed, health, and personal relationship)... I do so a little earlier in the season while they are still actively laying and sell for not less than $20... which FAR surpasses the value of a single bird on my dinner table.

    I would personally consider replacing (or adding) half (or 3/4) early each spring and new layers *should* come online before molting sets in. Keeping the birds you especially like of course... and never worry about loneliness.

    Whether you keep only 1 hen or more.. integration of chicks can be carried out with look but don't touch.

    Hope this gives you food for thought and ideas, how to keep your favorite hen and have her also be content. :fl
    Wee Farmer Sarah and MagpieDucks like this.
  3. FortCluck

    FortCluck Free Ranging

    Sep 9, 2019
    Central Virginia
    If you are planning on processing your other chickens and keeping just one, I don't see a problem with this because she can adapt to the chicks. She can basically be like your mother hen. I would slowly introduce them first, maybe separating them by fencing or putting the chicks in a dog kennel and putting them in her area so she can see them.

    I actually had a cream legbar that wasn't getting along with my flock so my friend gave her to a farm that just got chicks... She became the flock leader of those baby chicks and they use her to be the leader of all their baby chicks. They also process their chickens every year so she's the only one that's left until they get chicks again.
  4. Ninjasquirrel

    Ninjasquirrel Crowing

    May 11, 2018
    Northwest Indiana
    Good to know! This is what I had hoped! We dont plan to cull until they are officially done laying. As more eggs at all. Ive got 2 molting and one being broody currently so we are only getting 5 eggs a day. I've put them on feather fixer and oyster shell. I'll have to let the SO know that our girl should be a okay with the babies years from now. We were worried we might have to build something just for her. He won't let me keep her inside :hmm
    Wee Farmer Sarah likes this.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I'm getting to like your SO more all the time. :oops:

    It is good to make plans but life doesn't always work out the way you'd like, especially when dealing with chickens long-range. I wish you luck in that aspect. But I'll propose an alternative for you to consider and tell you why.

    Often integration goes a lot better than you'd think reading the stories on here. Even if you don't do the things we often suggest on here to improve your odds it often goes really well. But sometimes there are problems. Just because one person is successful doing something doesn't mean it will work for you, just like one person's failure doesn't mean you will fail. They are living animals and you don't know what will happen.

    Chickens are social animals and like having other chickens around. That does not mean they are going to die if they are alone but the preference is to have company. So if you bring in new chicks with a single hen she has a tendency to join them. Sometimes no big deal, but sometimes she can be a dangerous bully when the chicks invade her personal space. It's not logical, she is the one invading their personal space but gets mad at them for invading hers. What typically happens when you have a few older chickens and integrate young ones is that the young ones form a separate sub-flock until they mature enough to join the main flock, usually about the time they start to lay. I suggest you use that so she is never lonely.

    The spring that you are planning on butchering the others, bring in your BR chicks. Raise them and go through a normal integration, you will probably need similar facilities and room whether it is one adult or several. Hopefully you have room. When those pullets start laying and can give her company, butcher the others. They are not going to be laying much anyway, the pullets will give you eggs, and if you butcher them before they start to molt you don't have all those pin feathers to deal with if you pluck instead of skin.

    I don't know if you have the facilities to manage this seamless transition. A critical part is how much room you have, in the coop and in the outside space. I don't know how important eggs are to you either. It's not that they just shut down laying all at once, it is a gradual decline over the years. You may go a long time with them laying very few eggs. You or your SO may object to buying all that feed and getting very little return in eggs. As you gain experience you may find you want to do this on a regular basis, every two or three years, instead of waiting until they absolutely stop laying. As I said, plans change. You need to be flexible. But it is good to have a plan.
  6. MagpieDucks

    MagpieDucks Driven Insane

    Oct 26, 2015
    My Coop
    See you in 6 years! ;)
    Wee Farmer Sarah likes this.
  7. Ninjasquirrel

    Ninjasquirrel Crowing

    May 11, 2018
    Northwest Indiana
    We are trying to plan ahead. We know we definately want to build another coop. Our current one is just too small. I talked to him about it last night about culling half and buying 4 new so we have a constant supply. We have a huge dog crate we can use for a brooder and they could potentially live in it until they are full size. Either way...we have a lot of time before we need to worry which will give us plenty of time to formulate a plan.
    Ridgerunner likes this.

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